A full crew was waiting at 6:30 am and no lumber. The supplier blamed it on the weather, a fact that would have been believable if there had been any weather. The shipment was coming from the Bay Area as in the San Francisco Bay Area. A little fog. A little rain. That wasn’t weather.
To top off the morning the starter went out in his truck and then his dog vanished. It climbed in the back of somebody else’s truck and ended up 40 miles away by the time the driver stopped and called. It wasn’t even his dog. It was his sister’s dog he’d agreed to take care of for the week.
Then there were the bodies. When the excavation started on the old building he was restoring his crew had come across a grave. It was obvious it was a woman and a baby. That morning he’d told his guys that the tests had come back. She was a young mother with a newborn baby boy. It looked like she’d died in childbirth or shortly after along with the baby. They’d been dead about 150 years. Aside from a fancy hair comb and what remained in her light colored hair, there was nothing to identify her.
That was the good news in a round about way. She was really dead. In recent years Austin had found more than his share of Vampires under buildings sleeping off an 80 or 90 year old hangover. Since then a whole other world had opened up to him. Holy fucking shadow shit he didn’t need that complication in his life. And then there were the other Vampires… the ones who come into your life as soon as they know that you know.
With a major headache coming on he walked down the street to get coffee. The dog (Daisy) followed behind him, and no she wouldn’t go back. At the light Austin looked in the window of a dress boutique. He usually didn’t look at dress shops but a royal blue dress with a narrow skirt and square neckline caught his eye. It would look great on Elizabeth.
That was even more complicated. He had spent the night with her and could still feel her cool lips all over his body. She wasn’t cold, she just ran slightly cooler than he was, making him feel positively hot. Elizabeth, so unsure and quiet and in control and positively amazing and frustrating… and damn it all the throbbing in his temple increased.
When he got to the coffee shop, a local grinder of fine beans and keeper of good karma, he told Daisy to stay by the door. He didn’t want to tie her up. She lay down by a bench and looked at him with sad eyes. Rubbing her head, Austin noticed his shoe was untied. And of course, God damn it, his shoelace snapped.
Once inside a tall man in front of him said, “You’re the guy who does the restorations. The historian, right?”
“Uh, yes. I guess,” said Austin, shaken out of his own thoughts of his shitty day. “Yes, that is me.”
“I saw your lecture on the need for restoration and historic preservation last Sunday. It was fascinating. I couldn’t agree with your more. You’re working on the old Casey building down the street if I’m not mistaken.”
The man had a slight accent Austin couldn’t quite place. There was something else too that he couldn’t quite figure out.
“I’m attempting to restore the building. Between finding bodies and supplies not coming in… anyway, not your problem. It will be amazing when we’re through with it.”
The stranger smiled. “Rough day?”
The man put his hand on Austin’s shoulder. “It will get better.”
When they got to the front of the line the man paid for Austin’s coffee. Austin said no at first but the man insisted and told Austin to just pay it forward to someone else later that day.
Taking his coffee Austin went outside to find Daisy where he’d left her being petted by two pretty girls. As he took Daisy’s leash he suddenly became cold, starting at his shoulder where the stranger in the coffee shop had touched him. He called to the man who was waiting at the light.
“Hey, I need to ask you something.”
The man turned and smiled.
Austin stopped, Daisy sat on his feet. “What are you?” He looked into the dark eyes at the tall man standing next to him.
“My father is English and Turkish. My mom is from Jamaica.”
“No,” said Austin. “I don’t care about your ancestry. I mean it’s interesting but I’m not that rude. What are you?”
The man stepped closer and said, “You’re the Vampire Hunter. You should know.”
“No, it isn’t like that. I’m first a historian, secondly a restoration expert and third… I’m a Vampire Hunter and I use that term loosely. I don’t hunt Vampires, I just take care of unwanted…hey, look man, half of my calls are from Vampires. I don’t care if you’re one of them. I don’t have a problem with your kind.”
“I know. Everyone knows. Let me ask you a question. What are your intentions towards Elizabeth?”
As if the day couldn’t get worse a Vampire was asking Austin what his intentions were towards Elizabeth. “I’d never hurt her.”
“Good,” said the man. “By the way Austin, my name is Jason. It was good to finally meet you. I’ll see you around.” Jason walked across the street and then vanished around the corner.
Austin stood with Daisy next to the dress shop. He opened the door and called in, “Hey, can I bring my dog in?”
He left about 15 minutes later with the blue dress.
When he got back to his work site a few blocks away a truck as there with his wood shipment. Finally.
He took a sip of coffee then heard someone call, “Hey Austin. Come here, quick. We found another body.”
Taking a deep breath he knew it wasn’t just one of those days. This was his life.
For the complete story of Austin and Elizabeth check the links below.
Part 1: The Hunter
Part 2: A Memory of Distant Love
Part 3: Dark Dreams of the Hunted
Part 4: About Those Pesky Undead Folks
Park 5: The Hunt Continues
Part 6: Cold and Warm
Part 7: Date with a Vampire
Part 8: Crawl Space
Part 9: Dust and Desire
Part 10: One of Those Days…